MARQUETTE, Mich. — The Northern Michigan men's basketball team dropped an 87-69 decision to Southwest Minnesota State Saturday afternoon at the Berry Events Center.
In the first half, the teams traded points and were locked at 23-23 with 8:33 on the clock. The Wildcats strung together a 6-0 run behind an Isaiah Johnson layup and two Naba Echols layups to pull ahead, 29-23, by the 7:42 mark.
The Mustangs responded, putting together a 6-0 run of their own to tie the game with 6:06 remaining. A Taylor Schafer three-point shot put them ahead, 32-29, at the 5:16 mark. While Northern Michigan would twice draw within a single point, Southwest Minnesota took a 41-34 into the locker room after a Joey Bartlett three-point shot and a Ryan Bruggeman jump shot closed out the half's scoring.
The Mustangs continued to put distance between themselves and the Wildcats to open the second half. A Jordan Perez three-point shot cut the Wildcat deficit to 47-37 at 18:00. Perez then made a layup 41 seconds later to pull Northern Michigan within eight points.
From that point on, the Wildcats continued to press, but the Mustangs would consistently respond to go back up by 10. Late in the half, Echols and Will Carius drained back-to-back three-point shots to draw Northern Michigan within seven points, but Michael Lee hit a three-point shot of his own to put Southwest Minnesota State back up by 10 with 3:59 to go.
That Lee three-point shot kicked off a 14-6 run that effectively iced the game for the now 5-0 Mustangs. With the loss, the Wildcats fell to 1-3.
Northern Michigan shot 43.3 percent from the field but just 26.1 percent from three. They scored 13 points off of both turnovers and offensive rebounds. They also scored eight points off of fast breaks.
Three Wildcats scored in the double figures: Echols (17), Carius (16) and Perez (15). Carius shot 100 percent from the floor, from three and at the charity stripe in the game. Isaiah Johnson led Northern Michigan with six rebounds.
Southwest Minnesota State's Mitch Weg had a double double with 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Schaefer led all players with 22 points.
At halftime, the Wildcats honored Hall of Fame member Ted Rose. The only three-time basketball MVP in Northern Michigan's history, he ranks second in career rebounds (973) and fourth in career points (1,903). The three-time All-American was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 1984.
The Wildcats return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 22 when they take on Minnesota Duluth at the Berry Events Center at 8 p.m.